The 40 Defining Moments of Nas' Career

Releasing Illmatic & Getting 5 Mics

Date: April 1994

When Nas recorded Illmatic, he didn't do it to try and add a classic album to the rap game. As he explained during an interview with NPR last year, he did it to tell his story and document what was going on in his life at the time. "It wasn't about being a rap star," he said about his early rapping days. "It was about anything other than. I want you to know who I am, what the streets taste like, feel like, smell like. What the cops talk like, walk like, think like. ..It was important to me that I told the story that way because I thought that it wouldn't be told if I didn't tell it. I thought this was a great point in time in the 1990s in [New York City] that needed to be documented and my life needed to be told." Nas' documentation just so happened to lead to a classic rap album-and a long rap career filled with defining moments.

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